By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett was nearly speechless after his team’s 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
"I don't have much to say about that game," Tippett said during a brief press conference after watching his team get dominated in its first game after a 16-day break for the Winter Olympics. "It's very disappointing that we come out of the break like that. We have to recognize how hard teams are going to play this stretch. I look at games like this as your top players have to jump out and dictate how your team goes, and we weren't even close tonight."
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who rejoined the team on Sunday after taking part in the Olympics for Russia, allowed five goals on 22 shots in two periods. Tippett pulled him in favor of backup Jason LaBarbera after 40 minutes.
Joel Perrault, fresh off the injured-reserve list, gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the first period and the Coyotes (37-22-5), who entered the game with the fourth most points in the NHL, appeared poised to start the post-Olympic schedule with a big game. But the big game morphed into a big bummer.
Blues forward TJ Oshie tied the score 1-1 at 8:53 of the first period when he shot a long rebound past Bryzgalov from the slot. Jay McClement gave the Blues the lead for good 5:09 later by beating Bryzgalov with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. McClement's shot appeared to deflect off the stck of Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski en route to the net.
Trailing 2-1, Bryzgalov and the Coyotes allowed the Blues to score three goals in the second half of the second period.
Five different players scored a goal for St. Louis (29-25-9), which has won four consecutive games. Ten different Blues cracked the scoresheet.
"It's a nice little bonus in there," Blues Interim Head Coach Davis Payne told reporters. "It's not every night that's going to happen, but you take the nights when it does."
Blues goalie Chris Mason made 37 saves.
Coyotes forward Matthew Lombardi scored an unassistsed goal in the third period to make the score a little prettier.
Leading 4-1, the Blues squeezed any remaining hope out of the Coyotes when they scored a goal with 56 seconds left in the second period. In a sequence that pretty much summed up the game, Blues forward Brad Boyes skated through the neutral zone and Phoenix zone with little resistance and easily put a shot over Ilya Bryzgalov’s left shoulder and into the net.
• Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera played the final 20 minutes and stopped all 13 shots he faced.
• Joel Perrault's goal was his first goal with the Coyotes this season and the 12th goal of his NHL career.
• Forward Petr Prucha returned to the lineup after suffering a scary upper-body injury on Feb. 13 against Dallas. Prucha played 12:40.
• The Coyotes went 0 for 6 on the power play and are 0 for their last 25 power plays.
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette and Anders Eriksson. St. Louis scratched Cam Janssen, DJ King and Darryl Sydor.
• Before the game, the Coyotes re-assigned defenseman David Schlemko to their American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio.
“It was not good… It’s not acceptable and we have to be better for the next game, for sure, and everybody in this room knows it… To a man, from our net all the way out to the forwards, every single guy needs to be better.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve played a few games in the NHL so obviously for the confidence, it’s good to get some goals and get some ice time, but now it’s time to win some games.”
"We wanted to come out strong. We wanted to respond right away. We talked about getting on them before they got on us and we all have the same goal - we’re coming back after a long break, so we had to see who was ready to come out quicker."